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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
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    243

    Question What to do with a booming hive?!

    Further to my inquiries about splits/nuc techniques, I thought I would broaden that question.

    Here is a video of my 2012 hive, which was raised from a mid-March installed package of New Zealand Carniolan bees:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_HKY0bfztQ

    This hive was absolutely stuffed with bees and brood and the bee traffic was freaking out my neighbours!

    I am now planning for my 2013 season, and my question to all you experienced beekeepers is: What would you do with this hive to prevent swarms/split/maximize honey production??

    Many thanks,
    Janet

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
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    421

    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    Here's a easy read on swarm control that you may find helpful.

    http://www.archive.org/download/cu31...4062872969.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    That is an awesome pamphlet. Very interesting, thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Saint John, Indiana
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    101

    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    Were they that active all the time??? It looks like there is a good amount of orienting taking place. When orienting I've seen lots of bees running up the sides of the hive bodies like in your video. They do that so they can take off easier. Especially with the bees just hovering and looking at the hive. The huge cloud is also a dead giveaway hahaha

  5. #5
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    Jul 2012
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    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    Yes, they were quite active all summer. This is probably the peak of the population, but this went on for a few weeks at least, although the bees walking on the outside of the hive was not so obvious as it was here. There was quite the bee highway in the sky.

    When you say the huge cloud was a "dead giveaway"...do you mean that they were preparing to swarm? And if so, what is the best course of action to take in this situation?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    First thing...being a booming hive this summer doesn't mean it will make it through the winter or that it will be booming in the spring. With a lot of bees make sure you leave lots of honey for winter. It seems to me like there is not always a correlation between a hive being booming in the fall and its overwintering success or its being a booming hive in the spring. Some of my smallest ones in the fall turned out to be the boomers in the next season with the most swarming.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Saint John, Indiana
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    The cloud is a dead giveaway for orienting.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,776

    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    Orientation is typically young bees learning where the hive is and has little to do with swarming. They take a few laps around the hive in circular patterns to learn it's location.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,898

    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    Janet when was this video shot? That level of activity is not at all unusual for an Arataki Carniolan and in fact it's a small hive. My guess is if you shot the video recently the hive must have already swarmed a while back or you would either have to have more boxes on it or they would be bearding outside the hive in huge numbers.

    If it's a recent video, winter is not far off. If you believe they are still bringing in plenty of nectar you could add another honey storage super, but pretty much what you should be focusing on is ensuring they have enough honey stored for the winter.

    The hive will start reducing in population very soon and these kind of carniolans go through winter with a lot less bees than an avaerage italian hive. You must get your mite control done now or you will probably lose the hive during winter. And I'm not kidding I know those bees, treat, or lose it.

    In spring, it will behave a bit different from this year when you installed the package. At first it will be very low on bee numbers. But provided you keep mite numbers low, once some nectar starts coming in, the population will explode very quickly and they will attempt to swarm. Monitor it often and give them plenty of room. They will need a lot more honey storage boxes than what you have on it at the moment, or you will force them to swarm.

    Study swarm control methods and do everything in your power to stop them swarming next spring. Achieve that plus mite control, and you will get a good crop of honey.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
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    Jul 2012
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    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    That video was shot early July here...shortly after, through a series of mishaps and not likely swarming, I wound up queenless for weeks. Finally requeened successfully in very early September, and she is laying well. I will do a sugar shake today, check the mite board tomorrow and decide whether to put a formic acid pad into the hive. The new queen is locally bred, from mixed lines.

    Just after the video, I put another deep on for the bees, but they quickly over-ran that too, at which point I decided to Demaree the hive, but of course that day could not find the danged queen. Instead I chequerboarded the entire hive and put on a queen excluder and then two honey supers. I had been taught to cut out queen cells, something I will never do again as I wound up with no old queen and no young queen either about 2 weeks later. And no brood to help me out....next year I will run at least two hives, more if I can find beeyard space locally.

    Looking back, I should have taken off the queen cell frames and made nucs, and given my old queen lots more room more quickly. Not that I particularly mind swarms, but one of my neighbours reacts badly to spontaneous "events".

    BTW I sent that video to my regional apiculturists and they said "looks healthy" and gave no advice on dealing with a hive that was altogether too successful! Which is why I am interested in asking the question:
    if you saw this hive, what would your advice to the noob beekeeper be?!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    552

    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    You have a couple of options;

    Send them to me then you won't hav to worry about them

    Go treatment free.

    In reality you do need to check for mites if treatments are a consideration. Large booming hives that are not mite resistant may have equally large varroa populations that can crash them in the fall and winter. I have seen some of my strongest hives die out and the weaker ones survive winter because of varroa loads. Also a very large
    Population going into winter can consume a lot of stores so be sure they have enough to eat.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    tee hee! I do love my bees, and worrying about them keeps me on my toes. So I will keep them jb, if you don't mind!

    Did a sugar shake today and quick peek at the top super frames. Brood is hatching, lots about to hatch, and healthy larvae evident as well. Because this hive is requeened and in full laying mode so late in the year I am feeding 2:1 syrup, but we've had nonstop sunshine so they are still flying, are not guzzling the syrup, and have lots of honey laid up. There are usually enough warm days here throughout the winter that they should be able to move around the hive to reach stores. So the mites are a worry. Still on the fence about treatment, but want to get these girls through the winter. Summer mite loads have been very low, but with so much brood now in the hive, mites may have a field day. We will see what fell in the night...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: What to do with a booming hive?!

    OK well since the queen is no longer the strain I was talking about please ignore the advise in my last post.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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